The Malta Independent 20 August 2018, Monday

Watch: EU Justice Commissioner’s visit to Malta will also cover anti-money laundering, FIAU

Kevin Schembri Orland Tuesday, 24 April 2018, 12:10 Last update: about 5 months ago

European Union’s Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has told Maltese MEP Francis Zammit Dimech that she has several topics to cover in her visit to Malta, including anti-money laundering and the strengthening of the Financial Intelligence Unit.

During an exchange of views between the EU Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs and the Commissioner, Francis Zammit Dimech said: “The identification of authorities that would need to handle cases of whistle-blower needs to be well looked into. Those authorities, apart from having a reporting procedure, need to be independent because if the authorities that are granting whistle-blower status have a vested interest on whether to grant that protection or not, than the whole concept is one which would be totally shattered.”

Zammit Dimech welcomed the news that the Commissioner was due to be in Malta by June and had already indicated that she will be looking into various issues, not least enquiring with the Government about investigations relating to who was behind the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, in order that justice could be done as demanded by the people of Malta.

In her reply to MEP Zammit Dimech, Jourová said “Yes, I will come to Malta and I will have several topics to cover there, including anti-money laundering arrangements, and the strengthening the financial intelligence unit because recently we adopted the policy paper on the standards of financial intelligence units. They play an extremely important role in anti-money laundering measures. I will ask about concrete measures Malta is taking, I will ask about the European Public prosecutor’s Office, I will ask of course about where the investigation of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia is.”

Jourová added “Of course this is very tightly connected with what we are doing on whistle blowers and with protection of journalists. The directive on protection of whistle-blowers will help journalists, this will encourage their sources to come forward and inform them and help their work and will also serve not to leave the journalists alone, there will be co-operators and I think that for the work of journalists this will be very important and it will encourage them to overcome their concerns.”

Zammit Dimech expressed his appreciation towards the Commissioner for having given due attention to appeals made by MEPs to strength measures to protect whistle-blowers but emphasised the need to act at a fast pace on the matter. Zammit Dimech added that protection of whistle-blowers was important as these persons are also crucial for investigative journalists. He made reference to the European Commission’s fact sheet point on uneven protection of whistle blowers. In this regard he said “The Malta experience is even more particular as it is even uneven in itself. If a whistle-blower talks about an issue which is pleasant to the government mantra he is given protection and awarded tenders. On the other hand if a whistle-blower, as was the case of Maria Efimova, is issuing statements and revealing facts with regard to money laundering, that person is not given any protection and is ends up feeling at great risk.”

With respect to the anti-money laundering directive, Zammit Dimech said that when one looks into the development of that directive one even sees the relevance of this in the context of revelations that have been made recently, not least with respect to Pilatus Bank.

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